Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Petraeus to Policy Exchange – Pursuit of its own veterans risks UK becoming unreliable ally

Speaking at the first such cross-party event in Westminster, General David Petraeus, former Commander, US Central Command, tells a packed Policy Exchange audience that expansion of European Human Rights law “is having a chilling effect on recruiting, retention & overall morale of British armed forces”. Watch the video here.

Peers back Policy Exchange proposal to update treason laws

On the first day back after Parliamentary recess, Policy Exchange’s proposal to update the Law of Treason was raised by two former ministers as the House of Lords debated the Government’s latest Counter Terrorism Bill.

Former Defence and Northern Ireland Secretary Rt Hon Lord King noted: ‘One interesting suggestion has been promoted by Policy Exchange to meet the challenge of those who are betraying our country and are going out to fight and kill our forces. Australia and New Zealand have already taken action against people who are aiding the enemy by adapting the ancient law of treason to give a penalty of life imprisonment for people in that situation.’

Later in the debate, former Justice Minister Lord Faulks QC added ‘I also commend the recent Policy Exchange publication, Aiding the Enemy: How and Why to Restore the Law of Treason. Its authors include two Members of Parliament, one Labour and one Conservative, and it has a foreword by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. It provides a compelling case for the return to the statute book of a modern law of treason—the 1351 statute is plainly no longer fit for purpose.’

Before the debate, head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project Professor Richard Ekins set out why an update to treason laws was needed to protect the UK from those that join terrorist groups or hostile nations. Click here to read his article.

Davidson and Darling

Japan’s PM Shinzō Abe confirms Policy Exchange research

Japan would welcome Britain to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal “with open arms”, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe told the Financial Times. His remarks confirm Policy Exchange’s recent findings in Trading Tigers, which argued that “UK membership would be attractive to Japan in view of the substantial Japanese investment flows to the UK and the addition of a sizeable market.”

Alexander Downer, Policy Exchange’s Chair and a former Australian Foreign Minister, said: “I warmly welcome Prime Minister Abe’s positive message on the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japan is the biggest member by a long way of the CP-TPP and other members are also likely to welcome the UK’s membership, as Australia has. There are not going to be any problems, as long as the UK signs up to the rules of membership.”

Read the research paper, by Dr Geoff Raby, Head of Trade Policy, and Warwick Lightfoot, Head of Economics, here.

Sajid Javid praises Policy Exchange’s ‘hugely important’ work

Speaking at Policy Exchange’s annual reception at Conservative Party Conference, the Home Secretary said: “If I think about the policies regarding all the different roles I’ve had in Government – in every different role I’ve had there’s always been something from Policy Exchange that has helped us shape policy and have a real impact.

“Even now for me the work you are doing on counter-extremism, the work that’s been done on immigration, especially post-Windrush on what lessons we can learn, but also more broadly in politics the work you’ve done on being more civil in politics – you’re raising the tone of politics which I think is hugely important.” Watch the video of that event and more here.

Policy Exchange wins prize as best UK think on Energy and Environment issues

At the prestigious annual Prospect Think Tank of the Year Awards, Policy Exchange has won best UK think tank in the Energy and Environment category.

The unit’s research has ranged from the role of future nuclear modular reactors to cleaning up vehicle emissions in Britain’s cities. The judges recognised that our work paid “particular attention to the economic drivers behind environmental policy”. Just this week the Unit published a major new report setting how the UK can reduce carbon emissions and make UK heavy industry more competitive through an economy-wide carbon tax.

The work and convening power of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World unit was also recognised at the awards, with the visit by US Defense Secretary James Mattis thought particularly notable.

Prime Minister delivers keynote remarks at Policy Exchange Summer Reception

Highlighting Policy Exchange’s place as the leading think tank of modernisation, she praised its latest report on tackling the housing crisis.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to Policy Exchange’s successful track record of policy innovation, saying “can I give a sincere thanks to Policy Exchange for everything that you’ve been doing because its 16 years now that you’ve been making the case for a modern compassionate reforming conservatism. And if we just look at some of the ideas you’ve brought forward – free schools, police and crime commissioners – you’ve actually championed some of the defining policies of the last decade…  I’m really interested in the report you’ve brought out today. I’ve long said that design quality is, I think, actually one of the keys to new housing, and can I just say that it’s important you carry on because there’s a real battle of ideas today because, let’s face it, the world is changing fast.”

Batteries for Electric Cars: A case study in industrial strategy

Can the UK lead the world in the development and production of batteries for electric cars? This is the stated aim of the government’s support programme for the battery sector. Yet, in the light of the current state of the UK battery sector and the strength of international competition, world leadership in car batteries is almost certainly unattainable. If the demand for electric cars grows as fast as many forecasters expect, investment in battery production should be financed by the private sector, argues Sir Geoffrey Owen, Policy Exchange’s Head of Industrial Policy and a former editor of the Financial Times, in a new paper Batteries for Electric Cars: A case study in industrial strategy.

In Defence of Collective Security

As Putin celebrates another election victory, today’s Labour party should remember that there can be no coherent response to the Russian provocation without an appreciation of how our collective security is underscored by NATO and the role Labour played in its creation. In a new essay, In Defence of Collective Security, Professor John Bew, Head of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World project and an award winning biographer of Clement Attlee, argues that our current system of Western security, based on NATO, was painstakingly put in place by Attlee and Ernest Bevin and that the current Labour leadership betrays that legacy.

Second-Guessing Policy Choices: The rule of law after the Supreme Court’s UNISON judgment

In the UNISON case, the Supreme Court quashed the Government’s use of its statutory power to impose fees for employment tribunal proceedings. It ruled that the fees were unlawful because the level at which they had been set had the effect in practice of limiting access to justice. The judgment has been widely hailed as a victory for access to justice and another case in which courts have defended the rule of law from the executive. In this new paper for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, former First Parliamentary Counsel Sir Stephen Laws argues that the Supreme Court went badly wrong in the UNISON case, taking over a policy question that was not for it to decide.

What Does Chequers Mean for Northern Ireland?

In the first of a series by Policy Exchange experts reflecting on the Chequers Agreement and Brexit White Paper, our Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin reflects on their implications for the Irish border. Dr Gudgin, a former Special Adviser to the Northern Irish First Minister and leading expert on issues around the border, concludes that if the White Paper’s recommendations are implemented, the Northern Irish border ‘problem’ is largely solved.

One small step for prison reform

Prisons must be safe before rehabilitation can take place – Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Strategy looks at the Justice Secretary’s latest place for prison reform.

David Anderson QC endorses Policy Exchange report on countering online extremism

The former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson Q.C. endorsed Policy Exchange’s recent report on online extremism, ‘The New Netwar’, whilst speaking alongside the Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP. During a Spectator and Sky fringe event on freedom and security in the age of the internet at Conservative Party Conference, Anderson cited our findings on Islamic States’s online strategy and suggested that the Home Secretary consider our recommendation that Ofcom take an independent regulatory role towards tech companies and extremist content online.

The Times publishes letter on combat immunity by authors of Policy Exchange’s ‘Clearing the Fog of Law’ paper

In a letter published in The Times, the authors of Policy Exchange’s Clearing the Fog of Law paper address the President of the Law Society’s misplaced criticism of government proposals to revive combat immunity. The point of the proposals is to restore the law as it stood before the landmark decision of Smith & Others v Ministry of Defence and thus to beat back the judicialisation of war. The Law Society is wrong to say that this is an attack on compensation or accountability.

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